The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed the QLD state government’s announcement for a trial to help farmers better understand business electricity needs and demands in regional Queensland.
The trial will give farmers the chance to test off-peak and demand-based electricity tariffs under the Regional Business Support Package. QFF and industry members Canegrowers and Cotton Australia have been involved in planning the trial.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said that the rising cost of electricity continues to be the number one concern for the intensive agriculture sector, with many farm businesses experiencing unsustainable price increases.
“The sector hopes this tariff trial will provide some of the information needed to determine what the real impacts of load controlled and seasonal demand tariffs are, as current agricultural tariffs are phased out,” he said.
While the trial should start to inform some of the knowledge gaps, a more holistic and comprehensive transition package is still needed.
“Across Queensland there are over 42,000 regional customers that will be transitioning to cost-reflective (demand) electricity tariffs by 1 July 2020.”
“Industry remains concerned that there is still a prevailing disconnect with government messaging with impending electricity tariff and price changes.”
“A large number of farm businesses remain unaware of the changing tariffs and how this will impact their business post 1 July 2020.”
“Many customers currently on transitional and obsolete tariffs are facing price increases of over 50 per cent when they move to cost-reflective tariffs in 2020. This will further challenge the viability of many farm business customers.”
“QFF and its industry members will continue to work constructively with government to ensure our sector is ready for the tariff transition in 2020. It is however, unacceptable that the energy debate has become a vexed political issue when practical long term solutions are needed to ensure electricity affordability.”
Interested farmers are encouraged to contact Ergon to participate in this trial so we can better understand tariff charges impacts on agriculture.